Thursday, February 3, 2011

vigan in retrospect

i don't want to do another food post even if i still have a few number of food posts in queue. well, those have to wait because this blog will soon be overwhelmed with food, giving away my apparent gluttonous behavior. and since my first out of town (out of cebu!) endeavour for this year is still three weeks away, i guess it's just timely for me to put some of my travel quests for my fleeting sanity into writing.

this isn't however, in chronological order but to whatever past travel that will come to mind. though, i won't promise that this will be a series of travel recollections because i know after some time, the laziness will get to me.

anyway, i will start with vigan!

just where is vigan?

Philippine Map from Google
Google map link is here.

quite obvious in the map, vigan city lines up along the western coast of northern luzon, facing the south china sea. vigan is a world heritage site and it is the capital of ilocos sur province. more of vigan in wiki. this is the farthest north i had been in the philippines defeating baguio in my list. i would however want batanes to be no. 1 in my list. ;)

how to get to vigan from cebu?

getting to vigan from cebu is either through manila or clark and proceed north by a bus or you could rent a van, whichever works for you. together with me in this trip was my brother, my friend and her boyfie. we chose clark as our entry point since we took the chance of cebu pacific's seat sale of their cebu to clark flights. clark airport is also known as diosdado macapagal international airport (dmia) and it is located inside the clark special economic zone in angeles city, pampanga.

inherent to cebu pacific's reputation, our flight was almost 2 hours delayed. yeyy! we then arrived in clark around 8pm instead of past 6 and getting out of clark airport during this time is close to impossible unless you're willing to pay incredulous amount of money or if you have someone with a car waiting for you. good thing though, my friend happened to know someone who was in the same flight with us and luckily had a van waiting for him and his family.

out of their good will and compassion for us being lost, they even dropped us in dau/mabalacat bus terminal, where we would take an overnight bus for vigan. we took the dominion bus since we didn't see a partas bus, a more comfortable alternative.

Dominion Bus (From Clark to Vigan)

our way:
cebu -> clark (cebu pacific, an hour and 20-min flight)
clark -> vigan (an overnight travel by dominion bus)

the travel to vigan was bleary and uneventful since we slept almost the entire time and we only had one stop-over in dominion's old terminal somewhere i don't know. we left dau bus terminal around 9 in the evening and to our suprise, we arrived in vigan past 4am. that fast! the bus conductor even told us that we would probably arrive around 6am in vigan.

where to stay in vigan?

since vigan is frequently visited with tourists, local and foreign alike, there are a lot of hotel and inn options here. digging in the internet for an accommodation that will suit your fancy is effortless. i really find the user reviews in tripadvisor really helpful.

we booked a reservation in grandpa's inn, which is mostly recommended by those who had been to vigan. grandpa's inn is just 2 blocks away from the famous crisologo street, the cobbled street you probably see in any vigan picture. we didn't make a deposit for our reservation and everything was only done through email. really convenient.

Grandpa's Inn

having arrived in vigan at dawn, we arranged for an early check-in and just paid for the extra hours. we hired a tricycle to grandpa's inn from the dominion bus terminal.

Had Fun with the Calesa Beds!

we had the calesa room which has one normal bed and two calesa (horse-drawn carriages) turned into beds. after the long hours of sitting in the bus, we just wanted to hit the bed.

Grandpa's Inn
Contact Numbers: +63(077)722-2118, +63917-5802118 (Mobile)

you can't easily find their rates on their website, you need to click the "Hotel Information" first and then, there is a link for their room rates.

what to do in vigan?

with the long travel to vigan, one must have a very good reason to go there. as for us, we were excited to see the rich heritage in vigan. the cobbled streets, the mansions, old churches which dated way back the spanish times. across the philippines, it is a constant battle to preserve our historic sites against the proliferation of modern developments. luckily for vigan, it has been continuously surviving through the years.

in order to experience the historic vigan, we went on a day tour on our own, that is, without a guide. we only asked the receptionist in grandpa's inn to hire a calesa that will direct us to places of interest. the usual rate is in hourly basis. we were given 200PhP/hour at that time and our tour lasted for about 6 hours.

Our horse had a flower 'coz it's a girl!

see this post for our day tour.

there's nothing much to do in vigan aside from the tour. in our case, we were in constant search for a coffee shop/restaurant with a free wi-fi for we needed to get regular weather updates since a typhoon was coming right at us. the advertised wi-fi in grandpa's inn was unfortunately out of service. we just hung out in max's restaurant at the end of crisologo street and made use of the free wi-fi. of course, we had our dinner there.

Facade of Max's blends with Vigan's historic appeal.

vigan doesn't have that much of a night life either, given that most people seem to retire early for the night. well, there was that one place in front of max's where some people enjoyed some booze. apart from that, the rest of vigan prefers to end their day early.

is it worth it? 

absolutely! going out of town for me will almost always mean going to a resort and vigan was a whole new experience. i know it's silly that included in my desire for vigan is imagining doing photo sessions in the cobbled street wearing a dress! but goodness, it's just one teeny weeny part. :D although i never did like history when i was in school, experiencing what had been told in history, first hand was just spectacular.

 Calle Crisologo

i wish history will be taught this way like more excursions and actually going to places, especially for those like me who can't seem to get the historical places and dates in memory. 


travel period: aug 6-9, 2010
1. my guide to vigan
4. things to do in clark

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